Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lough Derg Revisited

Ok, now that some of the holy madness has worn off, I must confess (ahem) that I had a few "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" moments on (in?) St Patrick's Purgatory, the other name for Lough Derg or Station Island. The most hilarious had to be that Friday night, trying to catch up on the mega 'stations' because we arrived on the late boat. My pal and I were out in the rain and the dark and the swarms of carnivorous midges, circling the stony beds in our bare feet. At one point I was down on the lakeshore, kneeling on a block of stone, hunched over a drenched pamphlet trying to read the Creed in the dim light because I didn't know it by heart (yet), rain lashing down, midges eating the face off me and one part of my brain saying "what the @#& am I doing here?" and another part saying "I'm going to finish this if it @#&'n kills me." And even though she was suffering equally behind me, my pal Berry got a fit of giggles at the state of me. I was like one of the tormented souls in purgatory. "I wished I'd had a camera," she told me later. Oh yeah and can you believe purgatory is still part of the Catholic canon? I was sure it had gone the way of limbo, but apparently not. And no one can get out of the place unless someone else intervenes and prays for them. Imagine believing the universe is that badly organised? Children of a lesser god, for sure. Though I happily practise many a religion (love the communal and ritual aspects), I am a firm believer in the Vedic philosophy of the Cosmic Game in which we are all aspects of the Divine engaged in Play, experiencing all the beauty and horror of life ... because we choose to. That said, I'm still planning to revisit Lough Derg next year.

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